Opening Day at the Del Mar Races 2019
Wedneday July 17th
The 2019 annual thoroughbred racing season at the Del Mar Race Track begins soon, with Opening Day in less than 2 weeks.
Thoroughbred racing at the Del Mar Race Track opens Wednesday July 17th at the famous Del Mar Fairgrounds in Del Mar California, running through Labor Day on September 2nd, with the exception of Mondays (other than Labor Day) and Tuesdays.
Thoroughbred horse racing at Del Mar is a hugely popular event for residents and visitors alike, with spectators from all over Southern California, and around the country. Thoroughbred racing has been popular at the Del Mar race track for decades, with big crowds, and plenty of famous, not so famous, and maybe even infamous, people.
Del Mar thoroughbred racing has always been a favorite scene to spy Hollywood celebrities, and the Del Mar Races are still a popular celebrity-sighting venue each summer, in particular on Opening Day, a celebration that many San Diegans consider the biggest social event of the summer season.
Opening Day at Del Mar includes the always-popular “Opening Day Hats Contest” where you can show off your hat in the Plaza de Mexico between 11:30 am and 3 pm; there is no cost to take part, you just need a great hat! Cash prizes (1st, 2nd and 3rd) totaling more $5000 are awarded in 5 categories - Most Glamorous, Best Racing Theme, Most Outrageous, Best Fascinator and Best Flowers.
Hat Contest participants can only take part in 1 category and there is no fee to show off your creations. All contestants will also receive 2 free admission passes for a later date.
Post time is 2 pm (4 pm on Fridays)! Gates open 2 hours beforehand – get there early, as you can expect parking to get crowded. Another option is to take the Coaster Train to the Solana Beach Train Station, with free shuttles to and from the track on double-decker busses (we did this one year with a group – it was lots of fun and easy). There’s also an Uber Zone for drop-offs and pick-ups at the track.
In addition to the ponies, there are multiple concerts, parties, and other special events including Reggae Fest with Ziggy Marley on July 20th,the Uncorked Wine Fest on July 27th, the Food Truck Festival on August 10th, and so much more.
A shorter racing season was added several years ago, and in 2019 runs from November 8th through the December 1st (no racing on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays).
You can purchase Del Mar Race Track tickets online.
As with our San Diego County Fair, there is heavy nearby traffic when traveling the 5 freeway, and on the Coast Road, as well as major side streets like Via de la Valle, especially on opening day, in addition to the summer crowds in the Del Mar area in general.
2260 Jimmy Durante Boulevard
(Via de la Valle exit off the 5 freeway)
Del Mar, California